How to Talk to Teens About Underage Drinking #ABFamilyTalk

I am participating in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions are my own.

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Children are naturally inquisitive creatures.  They ask an assortment of questions ranging from ‘why is the sky blue’ to ‘why do farts smell’.  Yes, I have a boy…..I’m not sure girls ask as many questions about bodily functions as boys do!  As kids get older, they start asking harder questions.  ‘How are babies made’ and ‘Why do the other kids pick on me?’.  As parents, we need to learn to give educated, thoughtful and meaningful answers to the questions our children ask us.  However, there are some questions that they will never ask.  THOSE are the questions that we must address before the situation arises where they need the answers. Underage drinking is a topic that few teens will approach their parents about.  However, I encourage you to approach the topic of underage drinking with them, regardless of whether or not they ask about it.  I know…talking about underage drinking with your teens can be awkward so we put it off.  That could very well lead to tragic consequences.  If you would like to talk to your teens about underage drinking, I am sharing a few tips that might come in handy as part of my Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program Ambassadorship.

How to Talk to Teens about Underage Drinking

How to Talk to Teens About Underage Drinking

1.  Find the right time to talk: I suggest you pick a time when you don’t have to look them in the eye.  This may seem like odd advice but as the parent of two teens, I can tell you that they tend to be much more open when mom isn’t staring right at them.  Talk to them in the car or while you are stirring a pot on the stove.

2.  Try not to be confrontational:  Do not interrogate them.  Demanding to know whether or not they have already tried alcohol will not get them to open up to you.  Ask open ended questions and ask them their opinions.  Teens are not children any more, even though they aren’t quite adults yet, either.  Discuss underage drinking without being accusatory.

3.  Keep an open mind: This may not be a popular opinion but try not to paint alcohol itself as ‘bad’ or something they should never in their lives try.  Regardless of your own feelings about alcohol, keep in mind that they are unique individuals and will have to form their own opinions.  Explain to them why UNDERAGE drinking is wrong, illegal, and not a good life choice.  Tell them your personal feelings about alcohol in general.  But, forcing teens to accept your own ideals and beliefs will most likely lead to problems.

4.  Be honest:  While you don’t need to go into details about your own teenage shenanigans, be honest with your teens about your own experiences with underage drinking.  If you lie and they find out, you will have lost ALL credibility with your teen!  Gloss over the details but give them an honest account of your teen years when it comes to alcohol.

5. Set a good example:  If you do choose to partake in alcohol as an adult, make sure you do it responsibly.  My husband and I often finish out our day with a glass of wine.  I don’t hide this from my children.  We discuss alcohol with the teens, it’s effect on the body, and how to drink responsibly.  If your child sees YOU drinking and driving, they won’t understand why it is dangerous!

6.  Keep the lines of communication open: Check out my post about keeping the lines of communication open with your teens.  It is important that you touch base with each other regularly about ALL topics, not just underage drinking!  They may not always WANT to talk to us, but teenagers still need our guidance and advice, even if they hate to admit it!


Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking Program

Recent research has shown that parents have the greatest influence on a teen’s decision about drinking alcohol.  It also shows that our influence on them has INCREASED over the last 20 years.  Yes, our kids are listening to us MORE than we listened to our own parents! Of course, our influence on our kids changes as they grow up.  Between the ages of 1 and 7, we are primarily a teacher to our children.  From ages 8 to 13, we are most often a facilitator.  But as they hit those teen years, we are their coach.  Each phase is unique and has it’s own challenges.  For more than 20 years, Anheuser-Busch has shared the Family Talk About Drinking Program with parents to help provide them with tips on having an open dialog about alcohol with their children of all ages.

How to talk to teens about underage drinking

As we move into prom and graduation season, make sure you keep your ‘coach’ duties in mind.  ‘Coach’ your kids about how to deal with situations where they may be presented with alcohol.  The Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking Program (FTAD) website  features tips and suggestions from certified educator and parent coach MJ Corcoran on how to talk to your kids about underage drinking.  She encourages you to keep those lines of communication open, make time for discussion ahead of time, and make sure you make your teens accountable for their actions.  Discuss your expectations ahead of time and make sure they understand ALL the  possible consequences of their choices.  Underage drinking isn’t an easy topic to discuss with our teens but NOT discussing it may lead to horrible consequences!

 Have you talked to YOUR teens about underage drinking?  Now’s Your Chance!

The Giveaway

Anheuser-Busch wants to provide one of my readers with a $25 gift card so that you and your teen can spend some quality time together.  This is a Giveaway Tools Contest so follow the directions in the form below to enter to win!

By entering this giveaway, you release this blog and it’s owner from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action, related to any claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the giveaway or delivery, mis-delivery or acceptance of any prize.

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About Diane

Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician with two teens, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She has a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with Legos and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging full time. She currently deals with emotional tweens, suburban politics, and middle aged metabolism while sharing her opinions in an honest and down to earth fashion on her blog.


  1. Very informative for sure, thanks! We are expecting our first baby so I know one day I will have to have the talk, appreciate the post to help get me started!
  2. My daughter is in the teacher faze, and I am all set to be her teacher. Letting her know now how bad underage drinking can be.
  3. I really love this campaign. We have a lot of road side crosses in and around our small town from teens who were killed driving drunk. We have to take these suggestions to heart and try our best to get our kids to understand.
    • we have several of those here, too, and now that I have a highschool kid about to start driving, the idea of him or anyone else out there driving drunk is terrifying!
  4. These are some really great tips. I hope I ca keep the lines of communication open when my kids are older.
  5. I learned the stages of parenting, they are great tips.
  6. Mami2jcn says:
    I learned children aged 8-13 need their parent to be a facilitator. My sons are ages 10 and 12.
  7. steve weber says:
    I learned a lot of good tips and a new resource to turn to about underage drinking.
  8. From ages 14-21+, children develop a strong sense of self. Now the parent's role is to respect independence, stay involved, and coach them into being responsible young adults.
  9. Tracy Robertson says:
    I really liked reading about the parent being a teacher from age 1-7. So many parents seemed overly concerned about letting children "express themselves" at that age now that I worry they forget that they are supposed to teach them things.
  10. Jessica To says:
    I learned that when children are between the ages of 8 and 13, we need to have underage drinking conversations within the right context.
  11. Julie Wood says:
    I found out that parents are the biggest influencers in making sure that their kids do not drink underage. I learned that at the stage 2 ages between 8-13, that parents need to be facilitators and help their child by discussing the dangers of underage drinking.
  12. Amanda Sakovitz says:
    I learned that the third stage of parenting is coaching.
  13. Janet W. says:
    I visited the website and learned that part of parenting is connecting with your child and learning how to ask open-ended questions to truly connect on a more personal and impactful level. This will help facilitate discussion on underage drinking.
  14. shelly peterson says:
    I learned that they have information on 3 stages of parenting.
  15. Starla B says:
    What an awesome concept. I learned that sometimes it’s not enough just to state the rules. To make sure that they are understanding, ask questions to check the childs level of understanding!
  16. Parenting is the greatest influence against underage drinking.
  17. I learned about the 3 stages of parenting! Thanks for the chance to win! wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com
  18. I learned that they have information on the different stages of parenting based on the child's age.
  19. Adrienne gordon says:
    I learned they have tips on different phases of kids ages.
  20. Family Talk About Drinking is a supportive community that allows parents to learn new ideas, share stories, and ask questions about how best to tackle the problem of underage drinking.
  21. Denise S says:
    I learned tips for each stage of parenting.
  22. beth shepherd says:
    I learned the tips for the stages of parenting. Some really great help to keep the communication lines open.
  23. Margaret Smith says:
    I learned that it's best to talk to your kids & to coach them.
  24. Most of the conversations with our kids involve listening with an agenda (Level 1 listening) or listening from your perspective (Level 2 listening).
  25. Richard Hicks says:
    I like all their tips especially stage 3 about coaching them
  26. Ellie Wright says:
    I learned the different ages and stages of talking to children about underage drinking.
  27. ron schnell says:
    I learned a lot of good tips!
  28. tonya dreese says:
    I learned from very useful tips including that it’s best to talk to your kids & to coach them.
  29. heather s says:
    It is important to talk to your kids and coach them on the subject
  30. I learned about the various stages of parenting.
  31. Cynthia C says:
    I learned that parents of children age 14 - 21 should focus on listening and creating accountability using a "coaching" approach.
  32. Ann Fantom says:
    I learned that you should ask opened ended questions to initiate discussions with your teen about drink
  33. Ashley C says:
    I really like how it goes through the different stages of parenting you should do based on your childs age. I think its very insightful and helpful to know how you should approach the subject
  34. I learned about the 3 stages of parenting!
  35. Christina G. says:
    I learned that Anheuser-Busch collaborated with MJ Corcoran M.Ed to create Family Talk About Drinking. Thanks for the giveaway!
  36. I learned that Anheuser-Busch is working with MJ Corcoran, an educator and certified parent coach with over 25 years of experience, on this project.
  37. Mary Cloud says:
    There are three different stages Teacher, Facilitator and Coach for the different stages of a child's life
  38. I learned about the stages of parenting. kport207 at gmail dot com
  39. Brittney House says:
    Children aged 8-13 need their parent to be a facilitator.
  40. I learned that there is three stages of parenting.
  41. I learned that they have some great ideas to help! I loved the 10 ways to say no to alcohol on prom night! Great resource and gives some great possible answers if the kids get in that situation on prom night or anytime. It says that you should help them have a plan in place in case the situation occurs.
  42. Julie Murphy says:
    I talk with my kids about this all the time.
  43. Danielle Marie says:
    i learned that stage 2 is the faciliator stage. Ages 8-13.
  44. brandy c says:
    I learned they give three different stages for the parent depending on the kid's age.
  45. Daniel M says:
    learned they have info on the 3 stages of parenting
  46. There needs to be more talk about underage drinking. It happens all the time
  47. Erica B. says:
    There are three stages of parenting.
  48. I learned that Family Talk About Drinking uses "Stages of Parenting" to help parents create the right age-specific atmosphere so they can have meaningful conversations about underage drinking with their kids.
  49. Stephanie Larison says:
    I like how they have it divided up by age on how you should address the problem. I learned a great tip, BE CONSISTENT! In our words and actions, be sure to not send mixed signals. Don’t apply different rules for different situations, or act in a way that doesn't match your previously stated rules.
  50. Theresa Smith says:
    I learned that just as with most stages of parenting consistancy is a big thing. I really think this is the key to good parenting. And it comes into play when enforcing boundries with your teen.
  51. Kimmy Ripley says:
    The stages of parenting page was interesting.
  52. Stephanie Galbraith says:
    Family Talk About Drinking uses "Stages of Parenting" to help parents create the right age-specific atmosphere so they can have meaningful conversations about underage drinking with their kids.
  53. Susan Smith says:
    I learned that they have information on the different stages of parenting based on the child’s age.
  54. Lisa Garner says:
    I learned when parenting my teens to focus on listening and creating accountability. This method is the "Coach" approach.
  55. Laura Emerson says:
    I learned that there are 3 different stages of talking and listening to your children depending on their age group.
  56. tina d reynolds says:
    I found out about the three stages I am currently in stage #1 with my kids the teaching stage
  57. Rosanne Morrison says:
    I learned that parents not friends are the greatest influence on teens so we should set proper examples
  58. cynthia Dawson says:
    Great information! I learned that Children aged 8-13 need their parent to be a facilitator. Someone to foster underage drinking conversations and help them process situations within the right context.
  59. Francine Anchondo says:
    there are 3 stages of parenting.
  60. I learned about the 3 stages.
  61. Thomas Murphy says:
    I learned Family Talk About Drinking was created by certified parent coach MJ Corcoran and Anheuser-Busch.
  62. Melanie Montgomery says:
    As I am expecting a daughter, it gave me some great tips for talking to her aboutdrinking in the future.
  63. Peggy Rydzewski says:
    establish clear boundaries with their teens about underage drinking. I
  64. I learned about the different stages of parenting. It's such an important topic as where I live, a lot of people are killed by drunk drivers including the children of a family friend.
  65. Brian E. says:
    Thank You for the giveaway…we think this is essential: "...parents are the biggest influence on kids’ decisions about drinking..." ---> GFK Roper Youth Report has examined the influence parents have on their children. This year’s report shows a “24 percent increase in parents’ influence since 1991.”
  66. CharityS says:
    I learned that children aged 1-7 need their parent to be a teacher.
  67. Trisha McKee says:
    I learned it is essential to talk to your children through all phases/ages and ensure they understand the true importance and the real dangers surrounding underage drinking.

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